You might ask why a brand is important for an author or self-publisher. In 2012 study released by Bowker, the company that issues ISBNs (book identifier codes), they stated that the number of self-published books has increased 287% since 2006. That translates to over 235,000 titles in print. Add in print-on-demand and e-books, and the estimated number of books published in the United States each year is over 3 million books.
How To Stand Out From The Crowd
As a self-publisher, you are in business. Your business brand is an asset. Your brand can help you sell books, get recognition, land speaking engagements, and multiply the effect of your marketing. Like an ISBN, your brand identifies your publishing company.
Your brand is also like a bank account, or savings account. First, you need to create your account (brand). Next, you make deposits into it. Your deposits accrue interest, and your nest egg grows over time. Your account grows in value and builds equity. You can use that equity to leverage your efforts. You are building a resource that you can tap into when you need it.
Your brand grows in value when you invest time and energy consistently. Staying in touch through regular communication with your audience adds value. Engaging in conversations with your customers adds value. Your audience also adds value to your brand when they: buy your books, give you an endorsement, recommend your book to their friends, write reviews that they share with others, and encourage others to like, follow or read what you publish.
As an author, you want to reach as many interested, potential readers as you can. A strong brand makes it easier for your audience to find you. Some of the ways you can make your brand/books discoverable include building a strong identity across media channels.
Places to use your brand
You can use your brand in a variety of places, including on your:
- business cards
- trade show graphics
- social media channels like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+
Your brand projects the essence of what you offer to your readers. Design your brand with a specific person in mind. The more your know about your intended audience, the better you will be at creating a brand they can engage with. When people identify with a brand, they develop strong loyalties to them, like Apple, Volkswagen, and Levi’s. These companies also excel at conversations with their customers. They don’t just transmit, they dialog and are responsive to their customers feedback.
Think beyond your book. When developing your visual brand, think about how you might extend its use beyond your books. When selecting the elements that will go into your brand, visualize how you might use it, how long you plan to be in business, and how you would like people to remember you.
A Flexible Brand
When I design logos, I consider how they will be used, the size at which they will be seen most often, and, if it make sense to create a suite of designs based on the primary logo that includes subtle variations in anticipation of future needs.
These are logos for Grantham Press. Peter Engler, recently published his first book and was already working on his next novel. He wanted a clean and elegant logo. His primary genre is political thrillers. This is what I delivered.
I created vertical and horizontal treatments of the logo I designed for Grantham Press. In each orientation, there is a version of the logo with the name of the company, and one without. This gives flexibility depending on where the logo is to be used. The icon can standalone or be paired with type.
Peter had coffee mugs imprinted with the first version of the logo and the cover of his first book, “New & Improved! A Political Thriller” and he printed up a shirt that also displays the logo and his book cover. I used the horizontal icon with type for his website header.
Your Brand Is More Than Your Logo
Your message, how you interact with your customers, what you sell, how you sell, your affiliations when you are wearing your publishers hat, all of the actions you take in the marketplace are part of your brand. Its what you stand for, hence, your “platform.”
Build a strong foundation with your brand and your “author platform” can soar to great heights.
About the author
Judy Baker uses engaging stories to build brands. Authors and speakers look to Baker for luscious logos, delicious designs and marketing strategy. Baker is the chief brand evangelist at brandvines, based in Sonoma. Contact brandvines at 707. 938.2586 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On the web: www.brandvines.com
Baker is a storyteller, graphic artist, marketing coach and author. She trains her clients to take bite-sized actions. brandvines clients gain confidence, clarity and traction by reducing the gap between contact and contract. Baker is a certified Action Plan Marketing Coach who creates effective marketing solutions that transform your business. She is a popular speaker, trainer, coach, consultant and designer with expertise in publishing (print, video, audio, and social media), performing and making connections.
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